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New survey contrasts shopper behavior, retailer expecations

BY David Salazar

DURHAM, N.C. — New research from Bronto Software and Ipsos is offering insights for retailers about what shoppers want from their experience this holiday season. The data comes from a survey of 1000 shoppers and a separate survey of 100 leading retailers.

One of the most notable bits of data from Bronto’s report is that 52% of shoppers don’t plan to make a holiday purchase until October or November, despite the 53% of retailers who start their holiday campaigns in September or earlier. Bronto points out that inundating consumers with marketing too early can lead to a drop in engagement or sales when it matters most. 

"More consumer choices and multi-channel purchasing options have disrupted the traditional timing of holiday shopping," said Jim Davidson, head of research at Bronto. "Retailers must understand when and where their customers are shopping and what promotions resonate with particular demographics. Our research confirmed some assumptions and uncovered a few surprises.”

Among the surprises is likely the way that consumers plan to use their smartphones this holiday season. More than 60% of retailers expect shoppers to use their mobile device to look up return and exchange policies. But only 19% of shoppers will do that, instead 65% will look for coupons and promotions, 63% will check the store’s online prices and 61% will price the same item at other stores. 

Another bit of insight provided shows that if retailers are looking to boost sales, they may need to sweeten the pot for shoppers, as 39% of shoppers won’t shop somewhere that doesn’t offer free shipping, even though only 28% of retailers surveyed plan to make that part of their holiday sales repertoire. Additionally, even though 70% of retailers think door-buster deals are effective, only 28% of shoppers are interested. 

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Rite Aid opens voting for their consumer’s favorite pharmacy team member

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid on Wednesday brought back its nationwide annual Vote for Your Favorite Pharmacy Team Member Contest to celebrate American Pharmacist Month. Through the contest, Rite Aid customers have a chance to win $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards by nominating a favorite member of their Rite Aid pharmacy team. 
 
"American Pharmacist Month is the perfect time to celebrate the year-round efforts of our pharmacy teams as they continue to delivery excellent customer service and help our patients lead healthier lives," stated Tammy Royer, SVP pharmacy operations at Rite Aid. “We are so proud of our pharmacy team, and this program is a great way for Rite Aid and our patients to honor and recognize those who are making a difference in the communities we serve every day.”
 
Now in its twelfth year, the contest was designed to recognize Rite Aid pharmacy associates including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy managers, pharmacy cashiers and Wellness Ambassadors, for their commitment to providing excellent customer service.
 
From Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, customers can vote for their favorite pharmacy team member by completing a mail-in nomination form available at any Rite Aid pharmacy or online at www.riteaid.com/vote. Customers who vote will automatically be entered into a random drawing to win $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards. One nominated pharmacy team member also will win $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards through a random drawing. 
 
All nominated Rite Aid pharmacy team members will be recognized by Rite Aid with a Favorite Pharmacy Team Member lapel pin and a letter of commendation from Rite Aid's Chairman and CEO John Standley and EVP pharmacy Jocelyn Konrad.
 
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Meijer president departs for sporting goods company

BY Mike Troy

KATY, Texas — Academy Sports and Outdoors named former Meijer president James Kevin Symancyk to the role of president and CEO in a move that suggests the retailers private equity owners could be eyeing a public stock offering.
 
Symancyk, 43, will assume his new responsibilities on Nov. 2 when current president and CEO Rodney Faldyn steps down after 10 years with the operator of more than 200 large format, full line sporting goods stores. Symancyk joined Meijer in 2006 in a senior merchandising role and advanced quickly to become executive vice president of merchandising and marketing and then chief operating officer. He was named president in Feb. 2013. Prior to Meijer, Symancyk spent 12 years with Sam’s Club in a variety of merchandising positions.
 
"The future for Academy Sports and Outdoors is truly limitless, and I'm eager to ensure we continue offering customers convenience, a broad selection of quality products and exceptional customer service as we strive to remain the low price leader in our category,” Symacyk said. “I'm looking forward to getting to know our associates and vendors as we collaborate to become the national, regionally relevant, locally merchandised, sporting goods, outdoor and lifestyle retail store of choice."
 
Symancyck succeeds Rodney Faldyn who joined Academy in 2006 as CFO and was named president the following year. He was elevated to the role of CEO in August 2011 when the family controlled company was acquired by affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. It is possible that Symancyk will oversee the company’s initial public offering, as KKR looks to cash in on its four-year-old investment. 
 
"Academy Sports and Outdoors has had a tremendous growth trajectory during the time of our ownership. We are grateful to Rodney (Faldyn) for his innumerable contributions and leadership," Nate Taylor, Academy’s chairman of the board of managers and KKR’s head of retail for the Americas, said “J.K. (Symancyk) is an exceptional retail strategist with a strong business and financial acumen and proven track record of success. We believe that he will strengthen an already talented management team and enhance a corporate infrastructure that is well positioned for the future.”
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